Robin Roberts will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 2013 ESPYS on July 17 in Los Angeles, ESPN announced Tuesday.
The award goes to individuals whose contributions transcend sports. Past honorees include Jim Valvano, Muhammad Ali, Dean Smith, Billie Jean King and Pat Summitt.
One of the first female sports anchors on ESPN in the '90s, Roberts has worked with ABC's "Good Morning America" for the past two decades, blazing a trail for women in broadcasting. Her personal journey also served as inspiration because she overcame life-threatening illnesses twice. The 2013 ESPYS will recognize the strength and courage Roberts has displayed throughout her life and career.
Roberts played four seasons for the Southeastern Louisiana University women's basketball team and ranks among the team's leaders for points scored, rebounds, field goals made and games played. She was inducted into the Women's Institute on Sport and Education's Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Roberts held several anchor/reporter jobs in Mississippi, Tennessee and Atlanta before joining ESPN as an anchorwoman for "SportsCenter" and "NFL Primetime" in February 1990. During her tenure at ESPN, her popularity grew as she took on additional roles including hosting ABC's "Wide World of Sports" and serving as a play-by-play announcer for sports such as tennis and figure skating. In a ground-breaking moment, she stepped in to become the first woman to host an NFL pregame show during the playoffs, as a substitute for John Saunders. In 1995, the Emmy award-winning Roberts also began working as a featured reporter for "Good Morning America" and worked at both companies until being named co-anchor for GMA in 2005.
"Robin brings an amazing amount of energy, compassion and determination to everything she does," said ESPN president John Skipper. "Those qualities made her an incredible asset during her time here at ESPN, and they have served her well as she battled the terrible health challenges that she's had to face."
In 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer and empowered viewers as they followed her journey to successfully beat the disease. Five years later, she battled a rare blood disorder, MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), receiving a bone marrow transplant from her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts.
"Her unbreakable spirit was ingrained from an early age in Mississippi," said ABC News president Ben Sherwood.
The ESPYS, which will be shown on ESPN on July 17 at 9 p.m., honor ESPN's commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Valvano in 1993.